Laughing into 2022

It’s my first column of the new year and I hope you were able to enjoy the festive season despite the constant threat of new restrictions being imposed. I must admit, I always enter into a bit of a funk in January once the celebrations are over and this year it is hard not to feel a bit despondent, especially when the uncertainty unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic almost two years ago is still very much with us.

It doesn’t help that work tails off significantly in the run up to Christmas and into January, so I don’t have as many distractions to keep me entertained. That has been compounded by a lengthy spell of really boring, uninspiring weather – not too cold, but not especially mild either, complemented by a persistent drizzle descending from an unbroken grey blanket above my head. Not the sort of weather to cheer you up or entice you outside when you look out of the window.

I agree with American author John Kieran who said, “Bad weather always looks worse though a window.” This is a quote that came from a book that I’ve had for years but not really read properly called ‘The Funniest Thing You Never Said’, a collection of humorous quotations, collated by Rosemarie Jarski and published in 2004. I picked up this book on a dull day when I was in a particular grump and looking for something to cheer me up.

Having flicked through a few pages, I came to the conclusion that it should be available on prescription for people afflicted by the January blues. It had me laughing almost immediately, and it struck me that with things as they are, readers of this column might need a bit of a New Year pick-me-up too. So, with thanks to Ms Jarski, I’m going to share some of the funniest quotes I have found so far in the hope that it helps bring a smile to your face, January blues or not.

On the subject of the British weather, it was Lord Byron who wrote: “The English winter – ending in July, to recommence in August.” And this from comedy legend Bob Hope: “It was so cold I saw a politician with his hands in his own pockets.”

I may have mentioned before that I am not a fan of ironing, so I completely relate to this one by U.S. humorist Erma Bombeck: “My second favourite household chore is ironing, my first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.”

Many of us will have gathered with family and loved ones over Christmas, so I think the next few might resonate.

“Christmas begins about December 1st with an office party and ends when you finally realise what you spent, around April 15th of the next year.” P.J. O’Rourke.

“Kids will eat anything – snot, scabs, soil, earwax, toenail clippings. But not sprouts.” Tony Burgess.

Zsa Zsa Gabor: “I believe in large families. Everyone should have at least three husbands.”

“Most children at times threaten to run away from home. This is the only thing that keeps many parents going.” Phyllis Diller.

“Fortunately, my parents were intelligent, enlightened people who accepted me for what I was – a punishment from God.” David Steinberg.

“There are few things more satisfying than seeing your children have teenagers of their own.” Doug Larson.

“A friend of mine bought a castle in Scotland. When his daughter had a birthday party, he hired a bouncy council estate.” Harry Hill.

“There are two things we can all live without – haemorrhoids and neighbours.” Spike Milligan.

“The Bible tells us to love our neighbours, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.” G.K. Chesterton.

“Experts have spent years developing weapons which can destroy people’s lives but leave buildings in tact. They’re called mortgages.” Jeremy Hardy.

“I was on the subway sitting on a newspaper, and a guy comes up and says, ‘Are you reading that?’ I didn’t know what to say, so I just said, ‘Yes,’ stood up, turned the page and sat down again.” David Brenner.

“I daren’t take a holiday. If I stop writing my column for a month it might affect the circulation of the newspaper – or it might not.” Arthur Brisbane.

And on that note, I’d like to wish you all a very Happy New year!

Read more at Follow me on Twitter @countrymansdaug

This column appeared in the Darlington & Stockton Times on 7th and the Gazette & Herald on 5th  January 2022.

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